The nature and the source of the blast is being investigated

A soldier was killed and two others injured in a blast that took place inside a private vehicle hired by the army in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Thursday.

A defence spokesperson said that at approximately 0300 AM, based on specific intelligence, an operation was launched from Sedhau to lay a cordon and search in the general area of Patitohalan, Shopian.

“While moving to the target area, at approximately a kilometre from Sedhau, an explosion took place in the civil hired vehicle, being used by the team, resulting in injuries to three Indian Army soldiers,” he said and added the blast was very likely to be from either an IED or a grenade or a battery malfunctioning in the vehicle.

The injured army personnel were immediately evacuated to the army's 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.

The injured soldiers were identified as Ajab Singh, Parveen Singh and Pawan Rawat. The spokesperson said Pawan Rawat succumbed to his injuries at the 92 Base Hospital.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said senior police officials said that it was not a sticky bomb. “Though the input was that the battery of the vehicle exploded (battery blast), police suspect that there was an IED already kept in the vehicle,” he said.

Last week, the IGP had said forces have been instructed to be on maximum alert as security agencies in J&K braced for terrorist attacks with sticky bombs during the busy Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage starting on June 30.

“The terrorists might attack with sticky bombs. It is a serious threat, especially if and when vehicles carrying tourists, pilgrims, and security forces get stuck in traffic snarls. Terrorist or any miscreant can fix this bomb on a vehicle,” he said.